Amongst the controversy for the reboot, I made a fascinating discovery. Evidently, many people, including die-hard fans of the first film, do not like Ghostbusters 2. Even Bill Murray doesn’t like it. So if you were wondering why he refused to do a third film, that pretty much clears up why. So, after reviewing the first film, I popped Ghostbusters 2 into the DVD player. Without any joking whatsoever, I don’t think it’s a bad movie… like, at all. I mean, this is the sequel that everyone is saying was terrible? When I think of a terrible sequel, I think of Independence Day: Resurgence or The Hangover II & III. I certainly don’t think of this. I’m sure you want to know why so let’s delve into the tragedies of Carpathian Kitten Loss with Ghostbusters 2.
Ghostbusters 2 takes place five years after the events of the first film, where we see our heroes have disbanded. Evidently, sometime during The Real Ghostbusters, they were sued for the events of the first film and forced to shut down. This caused Peter (Bill Murray) to become a psychic fraud on TV and his relationship with Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) to crumble. Ray (Dan Aykroyd) and Winston (Ernie Hudson) dress as Ghostbusters for birthday parties. Egon has even returned to his research. However, when a supernatural force, living inside an ancient painting, threatens their world, the team reunites once again to battle the greatest evil of all; the negative energy of New York. What a town!
Okay, so let’s get the obvious criticisms of this movie out of the way first. Yes, there is the massive plot-hole of people still thinking the Ghostbusters were frauds. I mean, a giant evil marshmallow man walked down the streets of Manhattan. You’d think these people would be more open-minded. I can’t really make much of an argument for this. My guess is that Walter Peck’s theory of them dosing people with noxious gasses to make people believe they were seeing ghosts had something to do with it. Maybe people did end up believing Peck in the long run. However, this plot point is mostly ignored, so this is just speculation on my part. Still, not a bad explanation.
Also, it does have almost the exact same plot as the first film. Normally, like you, I hate sequels that do this. The Hangover II and Taken 2 are probably the biggest offenders of this. They did nothing creative or new. There was nothing worth being invested in. They just repeated the same formulas without any thought whatsoever. However, Ghostbusters 2, in my opinion, falls more into the category of what Die Hard 2 and Escape From L.A. did. Ghostbusters 2 essentially repeats the established formula of its predecessor but also does new, creative things with it. It knows how to keep its audience invested. It’s still humorous and it improves upon things that were lacking in the original.
What does it improve? First and foremost, the villain. Vigo The Carpathian is far and beyond a better villain than Gozer. He appears throughout much of the film and he looks damn intimidating. Let’s face it, Gozer was a visually interesting villain but, for the most part, she looked kind of silly. Just the eyes on Vigo are enough to scare the crap out of someone. Vigo simply has more time dedicated to him and commands a strong presence from the get-go. Fun Fact: While the actor portraying Vigo was Wilhelm Von Homburg, his lines were actually re-dubbed in post-production by Max Von Sydow. Yes, the villain in Ghostbusters 2 was voiced by Ming The Merciless. Now that you know that, you may bow down and praise the awesome factor of this film at your leisure.
Now, in fairness, his plan to resurrect himself through Dana’s child wasn’t anything special. In the end, it just felt like an excuse to shoehorn Sigourney Weaver back into this movie. That being said, Sigourney Weaver makes everything better. I mean, she couldn’t save The Village, but she made it better. It was also interesting to see her and Murray back together again. These two had great chemistry in the first film and in the sequel, nothing has changed. These are two great actors who play off of each other perfectly and in interesting ways.
The other characters in Ghostbusters 2 stand on their own quite nicely as well. Some characters from the first film even have more to do this time around. While Ray and Egon are pretty much the same as the original, Winston gets more to do and Ernie Hudson is able to shine more as the character. I would argue that Winston is far more memorable and funny here than he was in the first film. There is a scene with him and an underground train that is both scary and hilarious. The look on Ernie Hudson’s face at the end of the scene is priceless. “Sorry… I missed it.”
Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts) and Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) were given bigger parts and even form a romantic relationship. I guess Janine got sick of Egon rejecting her advances. Regardless, these two paired together seemed to make sense and they do share good chemistry together. Watching Rick Moranis tell the story of Snow White to a baby was incredibly funny. Louis even gets to be a Ghostbuster this time. This is where Ghostbusters 2 succeeds despite its sequelitus; it’s still funny and it still furthers the characters and story like a good sequel should. None of the actors were sidelined or given nothing to do and they were expanded upon a bit more. In my opinion, that’s what makes it a serious cut above other clone-sequels.
Ghostbusters 2 also has a great deal of fun with its action set pieces. In my opinion, they are just as good as the first film. The courtroom scene with The Scoleri Brothers, the underground river of slime and making the statue walk down the city on New Year’s Eve; these were all memorable sequences. They were all fun and exciting and they’ve stuck in my mind every bit as much as Mr. Stay Puft has. The scene with the statue of liberty also has more weight and meaning behind it. Vigo’s power is derived from the river of slime. The river itself is made up of all the negative energy flowing through New York City.
As a native of The Empire State, I can easily say that I agree with Bill Murray; “There seems to be about three million completely miserable assholes living in the tristate area.” I liked how Ghostbusters 2 uses the negativity of human beings to make a statement. However, what made it better was the Ghostbusters using the statue of liberty as a means to get the positive energy flowing through the city again. Could anything else have done it so well? It also shows just what the ghostbusters theme song suggests; that Bustin’ makes them feel good. The entire sequence is brilliant and the song choice is perfect.
I also liked the way the film incorporated some elements of The Real Ghostbusters cartoon series. The different uniforms they wore in some scenes resembled the uniforms from the cartoon. Slimer living at the firehouse and being of help in the end was another thing. They even modified his look a bit from the last movie. But perhaps the biggest change was Janine’s attitude and hairstyle which matched the cartoon perfectly. Personally, I thought all of these were welcome additions. I consider The Real Ghostbusters (and Extreme Ghostbusters) to be canon so none of it bothered me. Lastly, the jokes in Ghostbusters 2 are just as good as the first, in my opinion. There was still a ton of memorable lines in the film.
- “Doe… Ray… Egon!”
- “Two in the box, ready to go, we be fast and they be slow!”
- “I’m a voter. Aren’t you supposed to lie to me and kiss my butt?”
- “Poor Vigo, he’s missed his kitten. It’s Carpathian Kitten Loss.”
- “Come on fat boy! I’m takin’ you home to my private zoo.”
- “Suck in the guts, boys. We’re the Ghostbusters.”
- “We had half a slinky… but I straightened it.”
- “Being miserable and treating people like dirt is every New Yorker’s god given right.”
- “Very good, Louis. Short but pointless.”
- “Sometimes, shit happens, someone has to deal with it and who ya gonna call?”
Overall, while it does copy many essential elements from its predecessor, I think Ghostbusters 2 is a worthy sequel. It expanded upon the characters, the action set pieces are awesome, the ghosts are awesome, the dialogue and jokes are still funny and the actors still have wonderful chemistry with one another. It even has a better villain than the first to top it all off. So yeah, I still don’t get why this is so universally hated. Sure, there is one glaring plot-hole at the start of the film. Yes, it does follow the structure of the original. Ghostbusters 2 may not be a perfect sequel but it is still a damn impressive one, despite its flaws. For this sequel, there’s no need for a bench test. Heat em up!
So what are your thoughts on Ghostbusters 2? Please let us know in the comments and be sure to check out more reviews and articles right here at TheNerdStash.com
- Expands The Characters
- Just As Funny As The First
- Awesome Action Set Pieces
- Awesome Villain
- Great Chemistry Between Actors
- Suffers From Sequelitus
- A Serious Plot-Hole Goes Unaddressed
A graduate of Full Sail University with a Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing, Adam is a Writer and Film Critic, looking to make his mark on the world. When he isn’t at the movies, writing for The Nerd Stash, playing Duck Hunt (respect the classics) or delivering pizzas to his neighbors, he is back at school earning his Masters Degree in Film Production.